Guide to Rhone Blends

Find out why blended wines are an integral part of history


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Guide to Rhone Blends I’ve been tasting a few Rhone style blends of as of late, and am looking forward to a small vertical of Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape covering the vintages 1995-2005 next week, a report on which will be coming soon.
With all these Rhone blends flying around, I thought this would be a good time to take a quick look at what each of the major varieties might bring to these blends.  A fair question might be, why are these wines blended? The easy answer is that the resultant wines are more complex than any component is on its own, and history probably plays at least as big a role.
Historically, many regions relied on a variety of grapes to produce their wine. Some were early maturing, others late; some were drought-tolerant, others dealt well with excess rain. The ultimate goal was not to be able to produce some exceptional blend each year, but rather to produce something each year. In this day and age of wine as a luxury item we tend to forget how little we are removed from wine as a staple. It was food and water, calories and a bright spot to otherwise difficult lives.

Rhone image via Shutterstock

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  • Snooth User: jaybird75
    100123 104

    Boy, Greg, hate to say it, but was I disappointed.
    Not a word about whites! What's up with that?
    Really though, this is a much bigger topic than anyone can cover in one article, based on your title. A short article, at that.
    This article was about a few of the red wines grapes in the Rhone, and mostly just Southern rhone at that. You could have mentioned the Northern Rhone, it does exist. Mostly Syrah, some other grapes too. Wouldn't have hurt.
    But enough of the smart aleck.
    I have been wanting to dig more deeply into Rhone wines, but especially the whites! I had a white St. Joseph and it was terrific. (I'm not a fan at all of Viognier from anywhere.) I guess it's Marsanne (sp?) and other grapes in the North, but what about White Cote du Rhones? Same? Could you dig into that sometime? Do you like White Rhones?

    Jan 14, 2013 at 6:17 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    Hi Jaybird,

    I hear you, wrote all this about whites earlier last year and more! Producers to look for

    I'll write separately about Syrah, I just find the wines of the Northern Rhone to be so different, so much more wines of place that I don't even think of them in the same sentence as wines from the south!

    Jan 14, 2013 at 6:58 PM

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